Their wishes were simple and modest. Fate had other things in store though, and she can be a real bitch sometimes.
- All he wanted was to get the job done and somehow to endure those long months playing nanny to a spoiled little rich girl. Without strangling her with his bare hands in the process. Well, it is going to be much easier said than done.
- All she wanted was to escape the past and live like any other nineteen-year-old girl. Her plan definitely didn’t include the arrogant, tattooed savage, with his awful mohawk hair and lack of social graces, whose only mission was to stick real close and mess up her life.
But, people aren't always what they seem to be, are they
Darkness was falling outside and my eyes felt fuzzy after long hours spent gazing at the screen. I didn’t know how much time had passed while I was writing, but the paper was almost finished when the silence was broken by a shrill and piercing scream from the direction of the kitchen.
I leaped out of bed and headed for where the sound had come from, almost colliding with Bethany in the process. She was standing near the entrance to the kitchen, a hand over her mouth and a terrified look on her face. Following her gaze to the source of her anxiety, I almost screamed myself... but whether out of fear or something else I couldn’t say.
Alex was standing by the open fridge, leaning on the door with one hand while holding a carton of milk in the other. And he was wearing just his sweat pants.
I found myself staring in astonishment at the web of interwoven black tattoos covering the entire surface of his chest, continuing around his back and down his arms as far as the knuckles on his fingers. They were scary and magnificent at the same time.
Only when the initial shock had passed did I notice that the black pattern was broken in some places by pale marks. Scars. And there were more than a few. It didn’t take long for me to realize that two round ones, on his stomach and right shoulder, had to have come from bullet wounds.
“What’s wrong with her?” Alex drawled, pointing the top of the carton at Beth and bringing me back to reality.
“I don’t think she expected to see a tattooed monster jumping out of our fridge.”
“Let go of me... right now.” I hissed “I’m no good at following orders. Maybe you should try asking. Nicely.” “Hah! In your dreams!” “OK. As far as I’m concerned, we can stay like this till tomorrow...”
It didn’t cross my mind to reply, so I immediately began flailing around, doing my best to get free of his arms, but it was no use. He didn’t budge an inch and held me like I weighed nothing at all. Figuring out there was nothing I could possibly do to wrestle free, I let out a groan and sunk my teeth into his shoulder, biting down hard.
“You crazy bitch!” he barked and threw me down on the bed below, making me bounce twice.
I had a feeling that I wouldn’t come out of it well if he got his hands on me, so I clambered over to the other side of the bed and sprang down. Taking a quick look in Alex’s direction, I saw him clenching his jaw. Catching a murderous gleam in his eyes, I yelped and fairly flew out of the room.
Reaching my bedroom, I quickly turned the key in the door behind me just a second before he got to it and brought the palm of his hand down with a thud. Backing away, I eventually felt the edge of the bed behind my legs and collapsed in a heap.
You idiot, who knows how many people he’s killed just for looking at him the wrong way, and here you’ve just bitten the guy.
“Tomorrow morning, Princess...” I heard Alex’s voice from the other side of the door, “...we’re going straight to the pet store to buy you a nice muzzle.”
“Hah! Very funny!” “We’ll choose a pink one. It’ll match your outfit.”
Interviewer: Hello, Sasha. It’s nice to have you here today.
Sasha: I’m glad to be here. Thanks for having me!
Interviewer: I'm sure our readers can't wait to get to know you better, so can we start with you telling us something about you that no one else knows?
Sasha: Oh, you’re starting with the tough ones, I see that. ( smiling ) I'll have to think about that.
Interviewer: Please, take your time. It can be anything, maybe something from your childhood?
Sasha: Well, there are some things from that time that I haven’t told anybody. Like the big clock in the hallway I broke once.
Interviewer: You didn't!
Sasha: I'm afraid I did. I was around five, running through the house and playing around, when I saw that it was dinner time. I really didn't want to stop playing, so I climbed up on a chair, opened the clock face, pulled off the hands and stashed them in the nearest drawer. I felt sure at the time that I’d be saved from having to eat green beans for dinner.
Interviewer: You sure were resourceful. And you knew how to tell the time when you were just five?
Sasha: Of course. Vova thought me.
Interviewer: Your father's employee Vova?
Sasha: I've never seen Vova as just employee. He’s more like favorite uncle of mine, even though we aren’t really family.
Interviewer: You’re close?
Sasha: We were very close when I lived at my father's place. He was my hero and he always saved me from trouble. When I got up to any mischief, I’d always run to his room and hide there. Like when I took sand from behind the shed and spread it all over the hallway floor.
Interviewer: Why on earth did you do that?
Sasha: I’d watched some cartoon about Indians, and wanted to see if I could read tracks. I was sure I was going to be a hunter when I grew up, and I wanted to practice my tracking skills. I was around seven then.
Interviewer: If I understood well, you didn't have close connection to your father even then. What about your mom?
Sasha: She was very young when she married my father and I always had impression that she was more like a sister to me than mother. But, when I think of her now, I think she wasn't mature enough to be a mother.
Interviewer: Why do you think that she wasn't mature enough? She wasn't responsible, or...?
Sasha: She was… extreme. In every way. Sometimes, she reminded me of a beautiful wild animal that got trapped and was forced to live in gilded cage. Unlike me, since I’ve always lived like that, my mom had been raised without any restraints and it was really hard for her to get used to having bodyguards following her everywhere.
Interviewer: I suppose it was very hard for you too, living like that, being treated in a different way to your friends. What was the hardest part?
Sasha: Holidays, definitely. I always dreamed of going to the seaside or visiting other countries with my friends, but I was never allowed. Don't get me wrong, I know it was all for my own good, but even though I wasn't exactly unhappy, I wasn’t filled with joy either.
Interviewer: And what is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sasha: Being able to decide, in the moment, to go somewhere for a weekend and just packing up your things. Doing that without looking over your shoulder to see if someone’s following you, or having the idea that someone might try to kidnap you round the next corner.
Interviewer: Do you think you’ll ever be able to feel that way? Completely free…
Sasha: Probably not. Habits are really hard to overcome. ( smiling ) But I am really happy now.
Interviewer: And what’s the reason for that bliss? Or should I ask ‘Who?’ … ( laugh )
Sasha: I think you know the answer very well. He came into my life like a storm. An unstoppable hail storm. It was enough for him to look me once with that icy gaze of his, so that I felt he’d poured all of his coldness right over my head and made a total mess of my life. But it seems like even the thickest of icebergs can melt, given time.
Interviewer: From what I know, he’s a difficult man to be around.
Sasha: I would say extremely challenging. I have an urge to kill him in cold blood at least once per day.
Interviewer: Have you tried? ( arching eyebrows )
Sasha: Many times, but he’s so damned agile. He dodges my every strike.
Interviewer: Lucky him. ( laughing )
Sasha: So far… My aim’s getting better every day.
Interviewer: And do you think that you two are a good match?
Sasha: The worst! It's like putting two crazy, egocentric roosters in the same room. We can't help trying to strangle each other. At first I was sure we were completely contradictory personalities with nothing in common. But… in time I realized that I was wrong. We’re more similar than I thought, but I’d never admit that in front of him.
Interviewer: How so?
Sasha: We both had the same fear - letting another person inside those defensive walls we built around us, to make them important to us. For Alex, it was the fear of having feelings for someone who he’d eventually need to let go. For me, it was the fear of watching people I loved getting killed.
Interviewer: But you overcame that fear of connecting with people. How?
Sasha: Hmm… there wasn't any conscious decision like: “OK, from today I’ll let him be something more to me“, you know. It was more like: “Oh, shit. This isn't happening!” ( laughing )
Interviewer: Were you scared when you realized that?
Sasha: To my core, yes. To be honest, Alex can be a really scary guy sometimes, and realizing you’re in love with someone like that, makes you seriously question your sanity.
Interviewer: He didn't look very scary to me. I mean, OK, he’s pretty huge and those tattoos definitely don't make him look cuddly, but he doesn't look like a serial killer either.
Sasha: Hah! You’ve never seen him trying to strangle some random guy who dares to look at me the ‘wrong’ way.
Interviewer: He's rather possessive, I see.
Sasha: Like a dog with a bone. It's not like he tries to control me or anything, just… he doesn't like seeing good-looking guys around me. Usually, he doesn't say or do anything and pretends that he doesn't even notice them, but I can see it in his eyes - that urge to grab me and drag me back to his cave. (laughing) Like a kid who doesn't like to share his toys with the other children. It’s funny, really. And to be completely honest - it bothers me less then it probably should. I guess I feel flattered.
Interviewer: And what about you? How do you react when you see girls flirting with him? I suppose it happens a lot.
Sasha: All the time, but I've found rather productive strategy for those situations. And, it never fails.
Interviewer: Oh? Would you share it with us? I'm sure it would come in handy for our readers.
Sasha: Sure. It's really simple. Whenever I see a girl flirting with him, I just put on my brightest smile and make she hears me when I say: “Honey, your parole advisor just called. Better call him back or they’ll haul your ass back to jail for another ten stretch.”
Interviewer: Well, that would do the trick.
Sasha: It does, every time.
Interviewer: Thank you so much, Sasha. Unfortunately, our time is up. Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers before we finish?
Sasha: Don't be afraid to take risks and follow your heart. Most of the time you’ll end up hurt, but those few times when you don't – they’re worth it all.